A hypothesis is proposed that we are facing diffuse terrorism mainly coming from Middle Eastern countries, and state terrorism on the part of the USA, in the form a new fascism (“MEIT”, that stands for Military and Economical Integrative Totalitarianism). Both are imposing danger for peace and human existence. The driving force of Middle-East terrorism is a deep conviction of the non-western European World, and more precisely Muslim World, that they are treated with hate and despised by the West and particularly the US. The recent arrogant position toward some essential needs of the Middle-East people contributed to the development of terrorism also. And finally, acquisition of Nazi minority policy by the West – encouragement of “human” rights and NOT “just state rights” – gave a signal that was interpreted with precision: all means to achieve political goals are possible. This was a precondition justifying military rebellion and it legalised terrorism. The main characteristic of MEIT is a tendency to expand to unlimited international space, to impose or partially impose a particular goal on other communities, to force them to comply to the economical demands that are no subject to any negotiations. If resistance is shown by the weaker state, military means are easy to employ and often are the first measures used. Contrary to all the declared principles, “undemocratic” states, as long as they would integrate into economical system, are tolerated. Permanent power growth is justified by the power itself. It is implied that power (Might) is generating not only Rights but also knowledge. Similarity and important differences with Nazi ideology and practice are pointed out. It is suggested that the self-propelling mechanism of both forms of terrorism are set in extremely high moral principles that preclude any resistance to its immediate implementation and any defence against its inhuman means. We suggest that we have at first to abandon the insane ambition to change the world in our lifetime, no matter how high the moral principles is leading us. If we would have an intention to bring IMMEDIATE “justice” to the whole world, we have to count that we would have to employ extreme violence to achieve that goal. Some solutions are briefly proposed and attention of the reader drawn to purposefully extreme position taken in this text.
The arguments I am advancing below may be bad, though not all. Some may be good. I will be grateful to the readers if they helped me find those good ones. However, the fewer good arguments we find, the better.
On the September 11 2001 we were all Americans. This is probably the greatest nation of all times, the very incarnation of our most noble moral aspirations, that suffered, and we could not feel otherwise. Nevertheless, the American administration has been filling us with serious concerns, worries, and profound doubt: is the ideal of justice, democracy, prosperity and humanism in danger? America, instead of saying that it will enter the 21st century with peace, has said it will enter with war. (Here, as elsewhere in this text, we mean governments and administrations and NEVER people.) A serious international crisis is, no doubt about this, in front of all of us, and we should face it together. Our purpose here is to state what we think the problem is and to try to present some of the most important factors that could be acted upon immediately. These factors have been largely neglected not because they were obscure and difficult to spot. They were neglected because some earlier measures that were undertaken and previously proposed measures that were meant to “solve” the problem have been the result of the basic problems themselves and not the result of metanalysis; as a result, the proposed measures risk to take us even deeper into the crisis. Since suggestions that will follow could be received as a surprise, we will give some evidence in favour of such suggestions. Our intention is to show only that although unexpected, the hypothesis proposed is highly testable and has been widely known, and still neglected.
The recent tragic events, unconventional terrorist attacks on symbols of the Western and particularly American economic and military power made it clear that a serious international crisis and an imminent conflict with the entire Islamic world seem inevitable. To properly handle it we might look for its causes and probably would find them in unequal development of technology, economical imbalance, conflicts of interests, rapid increase of urban society, cultural conflicts due to increased speed of communications etc. To do something about these, and prevent further deleterious effects in an immediate future is illusory. Long-term co-ordinate measures, a fundamental social action, would be needed to solve such basic problems. However, those being probably the real causes, if we would have to take a temporary but immediate action, it would be better to identify the most prominent results of those general, structural factors, that could be acted upon and then hope to obtain more time to prepare and undertake necessary fundamental measures over much longer period of time.
Some words of precaution are needed though. The singular events will not be discussed here because their real nature is not known. However, it is clear that we live in the world of aggression and are almost not aware of it. In the last 20 years there has been so much aggression that we are even not seeing it any more. There is no longer need for a proof. Look at the news tonight. Aggression is today seen as normal behaviour. A new extreme of it is not shocking us any more, although it surely should. The quantity of aggressive “words” spoken every day by our leading politicians, with clear intention to kill other human beings, to kill other persons “out there” – is absolutely outrageous. In addition, there is a permanent war that is permanently justified (the USA alone fought 47 wars in the last 50 years).
It will help, probably, if we would point out also that there are about a couple of billion people in the world that do not have any notion of our aggressiveness, our wars and our desire to kill that we perpetuate in our media from early morning to late in the night. To learn then, all of a sudden, that their unknown head of state is guilty of something and has to be killed. They experience then that some of them are also killed on the way, their land destroyed, their generation dispersed. Their whole life is then annihilated and if they are lucky, very lucky, they will live long enough to see their land recover slowly, and come to the state it would have come to, may be even faster, in any case – at the end of their miserable life.
A second word of precaution is that what will be proposed below, is simply a hypothesis, as any other. It could be false, and we might be wrong all the way through. If it proves to be false, we would know at least that we made an effort to demonstrate legitimacy a difficult hypothesis. Here, of course, this is not pure exercise, but real life hypothesis. Our future could change for the worst if judged true but it is false, or inversely.
The hypothesis is as follows: We are facing diffuse terrorism mainly coming from Middle Eastern countries and state terrorism on the part of the USA, in the form a new fascism (“MEIT”, as we will call it later, that stands for Military and Economical Integrative Totalitarianism). Both are imposing danger for peace and human existence. We will see later that this is of course neither fascism in a strict sense nor one strong form of MEIT (as we defined it). It will probably be correct to say that US displays a strong TENDENCY towards one specific form of political behaviour that we defined as MEIT. We will use this concept not as an exact description of US political practice but as a fairly convenient “ideal type” (after Max Weber) that serves to coherently outline the main characteristics of US politics. This also leaves a hope that a return to the traditional American democratic values is still possible.
Following the fall of the Soviet Union and the appearance of the US as the only superpower allied with the West European countries, the New York terrorist attack made clear that the world is facing problems as never before. A conflict between poor and rich, between different ideologies and economical interests has been clearly defined. There is that kind of confrontation between not only former Eastern block countries and the West but literally all the southern part of the continent of Asia and the West. A conflict that becomes a military confrontation. That desperate act of 11th September was done by people who strongly believed that those were the only means available to them to fight against those they consider the cause of their misery. That act was at least conditionally approved by those people and could therefore been done by them, although we do not really know who did it. This may be seen as a criminal act, but in their eyes this was a courageous military action with the available means. The cruelty of that act is absolutely outrageous. Although they probably unrealistically believed that everybody would immediately understand their motives, this has not happened. It would be blindness not to see that they were certainly motivated by something that was real, although their response was deeply wrong.
Many states and individuals are facing today a danger to be either discriminated and suffer a shortage of the most essential elements for their survival, or to be annihilated. This does not necessarily put all humanity at risk of a world catastrophe, although this could not be excluded, but puts weaker nations in danger of further impoverishment and possibly annihilation.
The driving force of Middle-East terrorism is a deep conviction of the non-western European World, and more precisely Muslim World that they are treated with hate and despised by the West and particularly the US. This feeling that dates many centuries back is linked to the western-European and American racism that culminates during the period after the WWII. The second part of 20th century represents an exacerbation of hate,of being despised and of unfair treatment of the non-Europeans of diverse religions, certainly Muslims and Arabs have been particularly targeted. American military presence in the region, alongside recent military actions and the maintenance of a state of war is the modus operandi of the US coupled with a willingness that the state of affairs is not resolved; multiple collaboration of the USA with terrorist groups of different and opposing interest justify that conviction. It is particularly obvious that unwillingness to resolve the problem of the Palestinian people is of very great importance. The ambiguous and often encouraging stance, particularly on the part of the US towards terrorism (training and support of Afghan terrorism, Albanian terrorism) and self-practice of it (assassinations, military interventions) had, as it is obvious now, deleterious effects. The recent arrogant position toward some essential needs of the Middle-East people (resolution of the Palestinian problem, Gulf war) contributed to the development of terrorism also. And finally, acquisition of Nazi minority policy by the West – encouragement of “human” rights and NOT “just state rights” – gave a signal that was interpreted with precision: all means to achieve political goals are possible. This was a precondition justifying military rebellion and it legalised terrorism.
There are other similarities with WWII Nazis that could be listed. Fascism and Nazism are notoriously difficult to define and explain. Dictionary definitions are seldom suitable since they often do not leave the door open to the evolution of the term.
“Behemoth”, an excellent study about Nazi ideology and practice was written during the WWII . We will make a comparative list of concepts to point out some differences but also striking similarities the US new fascism has with nazi ideology. Similarities are numerous, but differences seem to be not only in time but also in most important declared aims and certain methods. Although it may appear that we have very different things before us we will certainly be struck to discover that they resemble each other in their most important aspects: their magic attraction, brutality, destructiveness and lack of a real, universal humanism. For this purpose we will not call them “old” and “new” fascism. The term “MEIT” may be, for this occasion, appropriate.
A short account of chapter 5 from “Behemoth” is summarised in Table 1. Some other statements, terms, concepts and practices of National Socialism and MEIT that are generally known are also included. This will be a presentation of methods closely related one to another both having strongly correlated concepts and actions that offer a secure explanation. These strong correlations will enable a reader to come to an obvious explanation for the aggressive politics of the US – a new “fascist” MEIT ideology.
A number of cited similarities may help distinguish without difficulty Fascism and the U.S. neo-Fascism from classical imperial wars. There is one concept that is behind both devastating ideologies and we cannot avoid dwelling for a while on it. There is hardly any doubt that the Pentagon war hawks have carefully studied the Nazi ideology in order to use it wherever and whenever needed. There is some evidence that Franz Neumann helped a great deal in this avenue of endeavor without being most likely aware of its distant consequences down the road. Immediate promotion of the high principle of “humanitarianism” is today the main method employed in destabilizing and dominating other states as if they were under direct conquest. This is identical with the Nazi method. The earliest antecedent of how to promote ethnic rights as the means with which to divide and subdue recalls the “divide et impera” of the Roman Empire. But, the most notorious example of this method is a letter from the Prinz Max von Baden to the Reichkanzler Graf Herding. In it, von Baden explicitly suggests that the aggressive policies of the German Reich would fail if this method were not enveloped in the noble principle of promoting minority rights ( , ,  ).
Methodological problems were thus solved and Adolf Hitler accepted it with the words that “human rights brake State rights.” It became an accepted doctrine. It is no wonder that Heinrch Himler would repeat it: “When handling foreign people in the East we will have to take care as much as possible to recognize different kinds of people and to promote them (…) I would like to add that we not only have great interest not to unite these people from the East, but on the contrary, to split them in as much as possible into more small pieces.”( ; our translation).
Remarkable is also the observation that Herman Goering made while discussing the methods of how to persuade people to go to war . There is a surprising similarity in recent events.
“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on the farm wish to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor, for that matter, in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
We think we could now state the main characteristics of MEIT that stands for Military and Economical Integrative Totalitarianism. Let us have a look of the definition of fascism that is given below:
FASCISM A political doctrine opposed to democracy and demanding submission to political leadership and authority. A key principle of fascism is the belief that the whole society has a shared destiny and purpose which can only be achieved by iron discipline, obedience to leadership and an all-powerful state. Fascism first developed in Italy, under the leadership of Benito Mussolini (dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943) and later influenced the development of German fascism in the Nazi movement led by Adolf Hitler (dictator of Germany from 1933-1945). While fascism increases the power and role of the state in society and suppresses free trade unions and political opposition, it preserves private ownership and private property .
Although, as shown in Table 1. above, there are important differences – implying that the new concepts have to be defined; the characteristics given in a definition are also central for the US MEIT. That the US political system is authoritarian is not controversial, although if the term “totalitarianism” is employed it should be understood to include the political system as a whole – some kind of international totalitarianism. Its democratic structures although existent, are alienated from the citizens and we would prefer to use “democtratism” to denote it. Even number of American political theorists and politicians would admit that a “republic” is a better term to use. Suppression of individual liberties is not extensive but is open-ended and openly justified as well as is extensive propaganda and media control. The main characteristic of MEIT is a tendency to expand to unlimited international space, to impose or partially impose a particular goal on other communities, to force them to comply to the economical demands that are no subject to any negotiations. And if resistance is shown by the weaker state, military means are easy to employ and often are the first measures used. Contrary to all the declared principles, “undemocratic” states, as long as they would integrate into economical system, are tolerated. Permanent power growth is justified by the power itself. Similarity with Nazi ideology and practice is obvious.
The driving force of MEIT is their unparalleled military power (thanks to technological advances) that generates ambition to ensure submission of the whole world and assure the acquisition of surplus goods for itself as well as control of main energy sources. Imposition of Western values, as superior, serves to justify the actions. Western values are considered in turn to be superior because of unprecedented success of technology in the West, this of course being a circular explanation. Humanitarian actions are considered as justified even if they include highly inhumane methods and the just war (bellum justum) concept is in its unprecedented renaissance – to ignore jus in bello all together!. It is claimed that the US decisions are not a subject to democratic argument, since the US is a democracy itself. This undermines any need for UN consultation or any examination of the rightfulness of US decisions, as repeatedly declared by the most prominent US politicians. It is implied that power (Might) is generating not only Rights but also knowledge. This is absurd, of course. Increased knowledge about the physical world could teach us how to go around in relation to nature, but increased knowledge about the social world would not allow us ever to prescribe to others how they should organise their society; we would need first to explain the meaning of life itself, and we are far from this. US methods for achieving the mentioned targets are unlimited and its use of terrorism is justified by an entirely ambiguous objective to defend the “human rights” of ethnic minorities (except when they are turned against the US). The arms that the US is using are considered legal even if the other side does not have them, and the arms the weaker side might use in response, are considered illegal. Guided missiles are, for example legal, yet suicide bombers are not. The atomic bomb would be legal, but bacteriological war illegal, etc. These methods are identical with those used by fascists-nazis before and during WWII.
In all countries listed below ( Table 2.) people love America, love American people – and hate the US. Because of obvious reasons. In how many countries is the US not liked? In too, too many. Why? The list is too long. We will try to give some reasons, but it should be clear that this is just the tip of an iceberg. As professor Bill Thomson stated (referring to the Americans in one letter on the Internet):
“We Americans, comprising some 4% of the world’s population, consume approximately 40% of its resources. We appear to assume that the resources found in other parts of the world are somehow our birthright. Imagine how this is experienced in third world countries, many of whom have been the recipients of United States military attacks.
- We maintain this consumption, in large part, because we have the most powerful military in the world, and since WW II we (the Americans; my note) have not hesitated to use it for political and/or economic gain in places like
- China (1945-46),
- Korea (1950-53),
- China (1950-53),
- Guatemala (1954),
- Indonesia (1958),
- Cuba (1959-60),
- Guatemala (1960),
- Congo (1964),
- Peru (1965),
- Laos (1964-73),
- Vietnam (1961-73),
- Cambodia (1969-70),
- Guatemala (1967-69),
- Grenada (1983),
- Libya (1986),
- El Salvador (1980s),
- Nicaragua (1980s),
- Panama (1989),
- Iraq (1991-present),
- Sudan (1998),
- Afghanistan (1998) and
- Yugoslavia (1999).
- We have bombed each of these countries in turn, and in NO case did a democratic government, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result. Through our weapons and/or proxies, innocent civilians of Indonesia, East Timor, Chile, Nicaragua and Palestine have also been victims of the United States. Is it any wonder that the level of hatred of the United States is so high? Former President Jimmy Carter stated, “We have only to go to Lebanon, to Syria, to Jordan, to witness firsthand the intense hatred among many people for the United States, because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers, women and children and farmers and housewives, in those villages around Beirut…as a result, we have become a kind of Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of hostages and that is what has precipitated some terrorist attacks.” (New York Times3/26/89)
- Forty-nine percent of our income tax dollar goes for present and past military-related activities. On April 16, 1953, former President Dwight Eisenhower noted that “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” For the cost of a Stealth bomber, we could put an additional teacher or social worker in every middle and high school in the United States. The cost of the proposed missile defence shield would add several more. Which of these options would add most to our national security?”
We have to admit that to characterise the US in such a way must be extremely surprising to many, particularly to the Americans. The Germans were also surprised that such a noble task, that the Third Reich apparently declared on all levels, proved to be a real human catastrophe. Every single aggressive action of Germany was justified in a simple and convincing way. If we examine the list of the US wars – more then 47 in number, as some historians have stated – each was fought outside American territory, each had its justification coupled with ambiguity and almost all finished with obvious disastrous results: poverty, social destruction, injustice and misery. The number of wars, even if some were (for the sake of argument) fully justified is frightening and we have to be blind not to see in it the most aggressive foreign policy ever in history. Egoistic nation-centric optics of both Germany and the US disabled their own populations to view from a global perspective the real meaning of that deadly ambition. Both wanted to establish a kind of order – to bring a profoundly idealised world picture which did not count with the fact that the real world is populated with a milieu of peoples that have their own history, customs, traditions, life philosophy, preferences and limitations. The doctrine of sacrifice for the benefit of further generations was also characteristic of communist ideology. Today US ideology imposes that principle on others. The end of WWII already showed signs of that aggressive ideology in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and in defeated Germany and many other countries (a list given above). Carpet bombing is an Anglo-American invention, introduced, presumably, by Air Chief Marshals Arthur Travers Harris and Charles Portal in WWII. Those criminal activities par excellence have nothing to do with people of America (similarly, the WWII crimes had nothing to do with German people). The macro factors, governments, state administrations and gross social structural factors are in the origin of the most important social events. As professors Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit state, macro factors “program” for the micro events.  This would not completely eliminate the responsibility of all individuals but makes it negligible in comparison with the responsibility of particular individuals that take decisions and contribute directly to the character of macro factors. However, there is a dangerous catch there. Although the macro factors (governments in our case) evidently modulate public opinion, it is taken that in principle, and this is an invention that makes part of the American dream: every individual is a maker of his own success and happiness. In the other words, if we have bad politics, bad government – we are responsible (and not that government!). On our dispositions we always have democratic ways to correct those mistakes, choosing somebody else for the office; if the new man would fail, WE would in fact fail again! This is the perpetuum mobile of our western democracies. It seems to me that the communist governments lost because they openly claimed responsibility and then, when their politics failed, they had to take the consequences. In the western democracy we, the people, are always responsible. This is of course serious problem that could be solved if more responsibility would be claimed from the people who take decisions.
The algorithm of terror is simple. A high ethical principle is declared and its immediate fulfilment linked to aggression if necessary. This was also the method of the great German Reich when trying to establish a “higher” model of society. Today it is the high principle of “humanitarian rights”. Both are not defined in concrete terms permitting their use for a given purpose that stays undeclared. If we would accept the principle, and since the principle is a high moral one, we would have to, then it is inconsistent not to accept the means. The more elevated the principle the more immediate aggression is justified. Our personal social experience contradicts this of course. In our closed world, we mean society, aggression does not pay off. It is however possible outside of our social circle. Criminals shrink their social circle and follow its moral rules perfectly well. State criminal activity takes place outside of its borders (as the US is doing) or inside its borders, but separating societies to which aggression is possible or forbidden (as in Nazi Germany where Jews were persecuted but not the “Aryans”).
Is the hypothesis here proposed sound? We would claim that it might be, without going further. We have nevertheless compared a simple explanation of the behaviour of the US, based on power driven illusion of superiority that justifies imposition of its own values with bellicose means; an explanation that concurs with current explanation of policy that is based on complex concepts of actual foreign relations that is full of contradictions, unexplained actions and that is rich with ad hoc hypotheses. A simple theory that explains the majority of events against a very complex theory that fails to give satisfactory explanation without auxiliary means. That presented concept of MEIT may be false in some details and not accepting it as it has been given here is understandable. However, accepting delivered image of what is current policy in essence, is hazardous not only because it is delivered by the controversial actor itself, the US, but also because we see clearly, no doubt about this, that it contains blatant lies about its motives and moral concerns.
Yes, it is possible to kill off all who are on the “other” side (citing Mr. Rumsfeld, “not taking prisoners”) and create a “better”, uniform and obeying world. The Nazis failed though…
There is a solution to the problem. The one promising choice we have today is NOT to accept as an excuse for indiscriminate and immediate action ANY lofty moral principle altogether. Future generations should be made aware of this need. Past struggles, revolving around the “highest” general and moral principle, led to great tragedies. Fast targeting always became an “obligation” since high moral principles “demanded” it. As over-arching, morally determined ideologies, Communism, National Socialism and the New World Order share the same devastating feature. The self-propelling mechanism is encapsulated in extremely elevated moral principles that preclude any resistance to its immediate implementation and any defense against the inhumane means employed. In contrast, one is inclined to believe that Karl Popper’s “piecemeal engineering” strategy of human progress is the only sane road leading to a better world.
Be that as it may, it should be stressed that the means and not the ends alone make our actions humane or miserable in nature. Even the means employed in achieving some relatively modest political aims will enhance the results if genuine humanitarian concerns are present. Yet, great aim, represented by ugly and faulty means could push all of us into the Dark Ages. We must abandon, first and foremost, the insane ambition to “change the world in our lifetime,” irrespective of one or more “guiding” and intensely moral principles. If the intent is to bring IMMEDIATE “justice” to the whole world the use of extreme violence will be endemic in order to attain such a goal. This would insure a reserved place in Hell and it would be richly deserved.
- Immediate Action
Opposing the one coherent, non-diffused and structured terrorist form of the MEIT (U.S. Fascism as defined earlier) acquires paramount importance. A host of multiple and simultaneous actions need to be taken. The reason for this is obvious. Since the driving force of terrorism projects itself from the MEIT, the U.S.-style Fascism should become the focus for remedial actions. But, this is not likely to be a short-term endeavor and it might just be possible to arrest terrorism sooner rather than later to buy time for a global efforts to evolve and develop. Some actions against MEIT are a conditional sine qua non for effective action against Middle-Eastern terrorism (MET). Middle Eastern countries are in dire need to block MEIT. A global approach will help gain their confidence and they could become a significant anti-MEIT force, especially when they enter into collaboration with Western countries not involved in MEIT. Some guidelines will be suggested while being far from comprehensive.
It is imperative to come into a solid agreement that declarations of the very highest possible moral principles when coupled with IMMEDIATE gratification produce substantial human tragedies. Means must be found to prevent such repetitions and slow any progression without delay. This prescription is hardly novel but it cannot be reiterated enough because of its basic importance. This is not a plea for amorality but for arrest of madness as even lofty principles do not require immediate MEIT-induced terrorism. Instant moral gratification obliterates the cruelty of means employed, including the killing of completely innocent civilians.
Aggressive politicians seek justification all the time for their immoral acts while counting on the persuasive nature of instant moral gratification. This practice can be ignored at the low level of local politics, where damage is limited and not decisive. But, when human lives are at stake, it must be made very clear what the logic behind happens to be and defeat it by the process of merciless unmasking.
Unless Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is followed, it is high time to recognize that state rights are at least equal with human rights and that it is the “just state” and “justice” for ethnic minorities that must be protected at an equal pace as a matter of imperative priority.
It is essentially the UN action and not the U.S. terror that must be put into action to destroy terrorist organizations, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It should not be left to the U.S. to clone terrorist actions that it condemns when perpetrated by others against itself. Secondly, the supposed non-targeting of civilians (“collateral damage” in MIET language) should not be acceptable as “regrettable” explanation. It is not at all enough. Not harming civilian life while targeting terrorists is an absolute must that should be internationally DEMANDED. If, for no other self-serving reason, because such U.S. acts are both morally and strategically wrong as the cycle of vengeance spins out alienating the rest of the world. In this sense, even the UN military anti-terrorist actions must avoid civilian casualties at all cost – meaning that they, in reality, probably will NEVER be possible.
Unquestionably, the U.S. must accord primacy to the Palestinian problem. It should not be allowed to fester but lasting peace will require fair treatment for everyone in the area. The American People might wish to bring to justice those fellow-Americans who created and promoted international terrorism, by financing, training, arming and helping in many other ways terrorist movements all over the world, Al Quaida included. There has to be a stop to the politics of state terrorism, to breaches of International Law as well as an end to the neglect of the U.S. obligations to the international community and the United Nations.
If this bill of particulars is accepted the question becomes one of how to proceed at present? Certainly, all of the cited points should be put to work concurrently, without being thwarted by bureaucratic impedimenta. Other solutions do exist but they are interlinked with the more fundamental structural problems outlined in the beginning. It may well be unrealistic to envisage that a major decision to act in a truly “just” way may come about. This is because, to act in a “just way,” one would have to address and, where possible, to repair previous injustices. Where, however, is one to discover how far to go into the past in such an ennobling endeavor? Many Arabs, for example, would like to see a number of top political figures from the West being brought to court for their previous crimes together with their own Arab “terrorists.” The great majority of the Arab populations are convinced that a couple of million Arabs had died directly or indirectly as a result of various U.S. activities in the Middle East during the past 20 years. From their perspective, the WTC disaster is a “minor” tragedy, if first in America yet a minor incident, when compared with the long-term and lasting miseries inflicted upon the Arabs by the U.S.
Not a few would wish to call the WTC disaster a “terrorist act” either. If war is accepted as a means to achieve certain end or ends irrespective of the weapons used than the means used by “their terrorists” are not less legal than the U.S. guided missiles, which they do not possess anyway. If only the powerful are to decide all sophisticated weapons systems would become entirely “legal” as the weaker are simply bombed into submission or destroyed in a massive way without the loss of a single U.S. soldier. It only follows that the more sophisticated means of destruction come into play the greater becomes the chance that ripostes will come through the so-called “terrorist” methods and acts at work.
If it were possible to start acting in a just way without, however, repairing earlier injustice in its simplest form, this would mean that the U.S. should not “bring to justice” those behind the WTC tragedy. Then the Arab and other Muslim extremists might, given the condition, accept to put terrorism on hold. Of course, against indications already to the contrary, this is not realistic. The first three points are the closest to how the real world looks like but that each could be attempted and may be partially feasible in results, reducing, but not removing, the risk of more confrontations.
The previous section concerns mainly the action that is needed within the shortest possible time- frame in order to avoid deadly deviations. A more basic approach is necessary though. There is hardly any doubt that a global initiative is required even if precise means are not yet defined. Something of an original approach, suited to the specific problems, appears to be a must.
Inter alia, the UN role should be put under scrutiny. A commission needs to be appointed to examine the UN activity and assess the status of the organization in connection with both its Charter and International Law. There should come into existence an Alliance for the Defense of State Sovereignty. It is this body that should be at the initiative for all the other listed actions. It is, in essence, an “anti-NATO” alliance that would assemble particular states in opposition to the NATO Alliance (without excluding at least some NATO member states) with the precisely defined objective to protect particular countries against attacks and pressures not in accordance with International Law which protects states, their sovereignty as well as peace.
There should be an all-Muslim conference, possibly but not exclusively of the leading Muslim theologians. It could contribute immensely to the Middle Eastern peace process by expurgating terrorism in favor of peaceful and democratic solutions that take into account all sides.
This might be followed by a World Pace Conference. It may well be the more urgent of the instruments while it examines recent events as relating to the UN and International Law and justice.
Another salient instrument would be an anti-terrorist Tribunal for the U.S. The active U.S. support for terrorism in recent decades needs to be examined and exposed. Its adverse effects have appeared all over the world and only most recently within the U.S. borders. Its exposure and international condemnation are bound to have a strong and persuasive moral impact not only within the countries that have supported terrorism but also within the United States itself.
- Answers to the four Common Sense Questions.
One often comes across common sense arguments that look solid but are, in fact, faulty Our present day media are full of them. In the last ten years, we have been regaled with such absurdities as “the situation is critical and we do not have a better choice than to go to war.” The makers of wars themselves always put this argument forward. All of this is designed to distract us from free thinking by imposing single-minded solutions. If all of this had been rejected at the start in favor of finding the correct solutions through pertinent questions we would most assuredly not have been so deeply enmeshed in crises of today. Some questions are in order:
(1) If we are misinformed, do we really have a right to act? And, in so doing, make mistakes?
(2) If all the “authorities” hold the same opinion do we, as a people, have to accept them?
(3) Are the U.S. aggressions to be tolerated simply because the U.S. is the sole remaining super-power?
(4) Do we have any real choices?
(5) Are not all wars basically the same as civilians die and are maimed and their properties destroyed? In some recent instances this became even more pronounced as SOLDIERS were protected and civilian targets were destroyed with mainly CIVILIAN casualties.
These common-sense questions often have to be answered in a non-common sense fashion. Otherwise we risk having to live our lives in common-sense induced miseries. One must however except the first question since it may indeed have a common-sense answer. There is ALWAYS a duty before acting –particularly if our actions have heavy ethical implications—to make the maximum effort to REALLY learn all about the matters at hand BEFORE acting.
The subject matter of this relatively short text is such that a lot more has to be learned about events in order to be able to accept or reject the rhetoric that comes with them. This is not such a difficult if somewhat onerous task in our age of communications. It can be done with relative ease where there is a will.
The second question concerns obedience to authority (argumentum ad verecundiam). There are indeed areas of life where failure to obey authority might engender great difficulties. Cognitive authority is based on knowledge that one can seldom challenge with much success. Administrative authority, on the contrary, can be challenged on the bases of either knowledge or common sense since it is not based on expert knowledge. There are no “experts” on whether Afghanistan should be bombed or not. As there are assuredly experts on molecular biology or fluid mechanics. This is not only an issue of common sense but, also, of morality. Again, the moral nature of an argument DEMANDS an examination of the argument itself and what it really rests on. The present writer doubts that his subject here could be left to rely on any authority whatsoever. The fact that a majority of Western politicians have similar points of view is entirely meaningless. If anything, this fact invites a very careful examination of the arguments invoked. Foreign Policy has nothing to do with knowledge of a foreign country. The reason is simple. It will not be governed by the real needs of the country at which Foreign Policy is directed. The governing factor is self-interest of the acting country. Experts do exist but are virtually invisible when their dissenting opinions challenge the interests of politicians promoting a particular foreign policy. One can recall, as an example, that pivotal American politicians expressed surprise at “how come that the Serbs occupied Bosnia?” That the Serbs were in Bosnia for the past Thirteen Centuries, an easily verifiable fact, did not seem to bother anyone. One might encounter a replica by asking a newly-minted “authority” on Afghanistan (that had learned only yesterday that Pashtuns live in this land) what is the language spoken by the Afghans, for example?
Would the planet earth be out of its present-version of Hell without the United States? This is, however, not the question posed by the current crises at all. In any case, the randomly distributed power secured a balance of power and produced a relative stability in the second part of the Twentieth Century. It may seem absurd but nuclear deterrence ensured stability. As French political philosophers pointed out some centuries ago, a Power that has no opposition would inevitably succumb to “absolute corruption” and project terror. The Greeks knew this as well and tried to limit mandates of dictators who were sometimes needed in times of crises. The present World acutely needs guidance from international Justice and International Law as such guidance can hardly come from the U.S. despite all the pious local statements of “respect for and adherence to.” The ideals of International Justice and Law will have to be reinvigorated and made to matter as so much has been already invested in them over the centuries since Hugo Grotius, the founder of International Law. To do less is to insure that the current earthly Hell will look puny at some not too distant future date. Perhaps, ways may be found to assure the APPLICATION of the extant International Law, instead of validating self-serving amendments.
The question of whether there really is a choice deserves a common-sense answer. There always is a choice. The arguments proposed in this text have shown that there are a number of alternatives on hand. Equally, another look at Table I will lead to the realization that there is a significant difference between the NAZI and MEIT wars and the imperial wars. The majority of concepts from the same Table are definitely not typical of imperial wars.
- Not a Conclusion
We all want a better world, more justice, more rights, more economic security, more freedom and more of humanism, perhaps even simple kindness and respect. At the same time, we would like to have all this fast. No sane person can disagree with these goals but the means used to attain them are absolutely miserable and contemptible.
Humanism is distinctly losing out. We are even witnessing the ultimate twisting of Humanism in war, bombing a people while dropping food packages and causing mega numbers of refugees. The exact antecedent of Afghan refugees was in Kosovo. Ethnic Albanian refugees only came out by the hundreds of thousands ONLY AFTER the NATO (primarily U.S.) bombs and missiles began to descend from the undefended skies. The NATO propaganda, widely disseminated, attributed this “claim” to the “Serb propaganda.” At least, in contrast, no one has as yet argued seriously that the Afghan refugees fled only from internal struggles. The first step into DECENCY needs to be grounded in actuality. It will never come about through psychological conditioning and manipulation. The advocates of war must be stopped at the gates.
Innocent people die and are maimed in the havoc of wars and it is the Mankind’s OBLIGATION to protect them from war-induced disasters, first and foremost by avoiding wars at any price. As there are always individuals who will kill innocent people through their decisions we must identify and expose them as being extremely dangerous. All societies should learn how to protect themselves from persons of such inherent evil, in fact of such deep ignorance – since we maintain the evil IS ignorance – in local positions of power and influence.
All problems of society that existed centuries ago are still present. Over two thousand years of “Civilization” have been too short to solve even the essential controversies. Alas, there is a shared but the false conviction that a great deal has been achieved, as we are dazzled by the scientific progress alone. In any other sense, the achievements are rather un-enviable. Democracy seems to disappear as soon as vigilance in its defense and its maintenance begin to sag. There is hardly a general desire to learn about “other” peoples, their desires, customs, esteems, convictions and hopes. “Our” values, institutions and customs are invariably and inherently superior and there can be no foot-dragging in efforts to impose them on everyone else.
When “scientific” progress is mentioned, one often forgets that we have also surpassed by far our ancestors in the ability for mass killings. We are convinced to be justified in so doing but do not remember that “primitive peoples” from the past were equally convinced but only less able to cause massive destruction. It is IMPOSSIBLE to make real advances in the huge field of morality if we delude ourselves into having already attained a state of justice and moral wisdom. It should be possible however to facilitate the task, to make it simpler by aiming for just one, single thing, one improvement only. Even assuming that the present writer is actually wrong in his essay, there is a single but essential objection to be made to the whole Western society and especially the U.S. as the sole super-Power of today. It is inherently justifiable through a simple question – “Why kill?” If the U.S. could bring itself to just try and stop killing people abroad that would be a very good start indeed.
As we have come to the end, it is of utmost necessity to underline that number of arguments exposed here, have been pushed to the very extreme. This was done with the purpose to awaken us from the conformist slumber and force us to examine critically the problems of international relations. Indeed there is no need to be in despair. The world is certainly better then it seams to be if seen through these pessimistic glasses. But we could, if we tried to act more rationally, make it look quite desirable place to live even to those who have lost all their hopes.
. Franz Neumann: Behemoth, Structure and Praxis of National – Socialism 1933 – 1944, Oxford University Press, 1942; 1944.
. Die Denkschrift des Prinzen Max von baden uber den „ethnischen Imperialismus, In: Reinhard Opitz (Hrsg), Europastrategien des deutchen Kapitals, 1900-1945, Paul Rugenstein verlag, Koeln, 1977.
. Some significant passages we could find in Mathias Künzel: Der Weg in den Krieg:, Elefanten Press, Berlin, 2000, p 95-96: “Seit über achtzig Jahren wird Machtpolitik in Deutschland auf besonderer Weise verbrämt. Im März 1918 verfasste Prinz Max von Baden, der bald darauf zum Reichskanzler ernannt wurde, eine Eingabe an den Kaiser. Ihr Titel: DIE DENKSCHRIFT ÜBER DEN ETHNISCHEN IMPERIALISMUS” (In: Reinhard Opitz (Hrsg), Europastrategien des deutchen Kapitals, Paul Rugenstein verlag, Koeln, 1977, S. 420-440).Behandelt wird darin eine Fragestellung von höchster Aktualität: Wie kann eine imperiale Machtpolitik so präsentiert werden, dass sie selbst “im Lichte der schärfsten Weltkritik, auf Zustimmung stößt”. “Will der deutsche Imperialismus dem Ansturm der Demokratie mit ihrem Anspruch auf die Weltverbesserung Stand halten, so muss er sich ethnisch fundieren”. Mit dem reinen Machtanspruch kann die Demokratie mühelos fertig werden…darum müssen wir allgemeine Menschheitsziele in unseren nationalen Willen aufnehmen.”
. As cited in Mathias Künzel: (Idem): Schon bei Baden werden jene “Menschheitsziele” aber volkisch definiert. Der Weltkrieg, der er den “Panzer” der früheren Weltordnung sprengte, habe die Geschicke ganzer Völker erneut zur Entscheidung gebracht…..Neu entstandene Staatengebilde bedürfen die Anlehnung und des Schutzes…. Wir sind ihre Nachbarn und Befreier.(p. 254)
. Idem. Ein anderer Ideologe griff dies auf und gab diesem Gedanken eine Überschrift die auch heute nicht nur bei Konservativen, sondern auch im grün-alternatieven Lager auf Beifall stößt:” MENSCHENRECHT BRICHT STAATSRECHT” Der Autor dieser Lösung, Adolf Hitler, präzisierte diesen Gedanken wie folgt (“A.Hitler, Mein Kampf. Bd.1, 35 Auflage,München 1934,S.104.): “Wenn durch die Hilfsmittel der Regierungsgewalt ein Volkstum dem Untergang geführt wird, dann ist die Rebellion eines jeden Angehörigen eines solchen Volkes nicht nur Recht, sondern Pflicht…nicht die Erhaltung eines Staates, sei der höchste Zweck des Daseins der Menschen, sonder die Bewahrung ihrer Art ( ….) Dieser Vorstellung entsprechen wurde im Zweiten Weltkrieg sogenannte “Volksgruppen-Komandos” auf der Suche nach “Volksmischgebieten” durch ganz Europa gesandt, um dort den “Völkischen Selbsterhaltungstrieb”(Hitler) von staatlichen Minderheiten im ersten Schritt aufzuwiegeln, dann ihnen das Bedürfnis nach “Autonomie” anheim zu geben und drittens deren Staaten bei Bedarf auseinander zu sprengen. “In Frankreich sollten mehrere neue Staaten entstehen, für jede “Minderheit” einer. Die Bretonen, Burgunder oder das “Volk” von Savoyen rief die deutsche Zentralgewalt zum Kampf auf. Deutschlands Europapropaganda pries “Autonomie”, “Identität”…., heizte den Separatismus an und spaltete die okkupierte Nationen. (See also Walter von Goldenbach and Rüdiger von Minov in a book Von Krieg zum Krieg, Köln 1999, p.6.
. Heinrich Himmler (15. Mai 1940) (In: Reinhard Opitz (Hrsg), Europastrategien des deutchen Kapitals, Paul Rugenstein Verlag, Köln, 1977, Teil IV: „Bei der Behandlung der Fremdvölkischen im Osten müssen wir darauf sehen, soviel wie möglich einzelne Völkerschaften anzuerkennen und zu pflegen, also neben den Polen und Juden die Ukrainer, die Weißrussen, die Goralen, die Lemken und die Kaschuben. Wenn sonst noch irgendwo Volkssplitter zu finden sind, auch diese.
Ich will damit sagen, dass wir nicht nur das grosste Interesse daran haben, die Befohlkehrung des Ostens nicht zu einen, sondern im Gegenteil in möglicht viele Teile und Splitter zu zergliedern.
Aber auch innerhalb der Völkerschaften selbst haben wir nicht Interesse, diese zu Einheit und Grosse zu furen, ihnen vielleicht allmählich nationalbewusstfein und nationale Kultur beizubringen, sondern sie in unzaelige kleine Splitter und Partikel aufzulosen.”
. Internet (reference unknown)
. (Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D. The online version of this dictionary is a product of Athabasca University and ICAAP.)
. As we have pointed out earlier (D. Pavlovic, Justice, tribunal et héritage helléniques “Dialogue”, No 18 (Editorial),. 1998): Quoi qu’il en soit, il ne sera pas simple non plus de partir de la responsabilité pour arriver à la culpabilité. Mais une telle approche, une approche structurelle globale, permettrait de mieux analyser le processus d’éclatement d’un conflit et satisferait en même temps au droit international. Ainsi condamner des crimes individuels prendraient son sens véritable et le tribunal sa pleine valeur juridique. D’ailleurs, la plupart des théories servant à expliquer les phénomènes sociaux ne tiennent pas seulement compte des facteurs micro (les individus) mais également macro (les institutions, les structures, les normes sociales).
La question du passage du niveau micro au niveau macro a été longtemps discutée et la littérature en sciences sociales continue à en débattre. Max Weber, en 1904, dans “De l’éthique du protestantisme et de l’esprit du capitalisme” (Max Weber, The Protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism, Scribner’s, 1958) en a donné un exemple classique en expliquant l’influence des valeurs sociales religieuses sur l’organisation économique de la société.
Passons maintenant brièvement aux explications théoriques. D’après certains théoriciens (ceux du holizam méthodologique, le point de vue prédominant), (i) les facteurs macro filtrent les préalables psychologiques des phénomènes, neutralisant tous ceux ne concernant pas ces phénomènes (Robert Nozik, Anarchy, State and Utopia, Basil Blackwell, 1988, p.22), (ii) les facteurs macro produisent les préalables psychologiques aux phénomènes (Louis Althusser, Reading Capital, New Left Books, 1970, p.180), ou bien (iii) les facteurs macro programment la réalisation des phénomènes en accroissant leur vraisemblance (Frank Jackson et Philip Pettit, “Structural explanation in Social Theory”, in David Charles et Kathleen Lennon, Reduction, Explanation and Realism, Claredon Press, 1992). D’autres théoriciens (ceux de l’individualisme méthodologique) privilégient les facteurs micro (Jon Elster, Explaining Technical Change, Cambridge University Press, 1983). Enfin, certains chercheurs prennent en considération aussi bien les facteurs micro que macro et proposent une solution complexe de compromis (James Bohman, New Philosophy of Social Science, Problems of Indeterminacy, Polity Press, 1991). Le comportement agressif des groupes est un phénomène social qui, comme tout autre, peut faire l’objet d’une analyse des relations de cause à effet. Punir les crimes de guerre commis, bien que ce soit totalement justifié sur le plan moral, ne supprime pas la cause des crimes. Les conditions de guerre, qui d’un point de vue théorique correspondent au niveau macro, en sont une cause incontestable.
Dragan Pavlovic, M. D., is Director and Editor-in-chief of “Dialogue”, Paris, France.
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